Title:
Non-splash urinal strainer
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention is directed to a non-splash urinal strainer with a perforated base pad and a deodorant canister fixed to the base pad. The deodorant canister includes a continuous outside wall fixed to a funnel shaped conduit that extends through the deodorant canister. The funnel shaped conduit has a large open target end for receiving an incoming urine stream and a drain end closed with a perforated grate positioned proximate the perforated base pad. Deodorant material is contained within a space provided between the continuous outside wall and the funnel shaped conduit.



Inventors:
Emr, Daniel J. (Clearwater, FL, US)
Application Number:
11/355227
Publication Date:
08/16/2007
Filing Date:
02/15/2006
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E03D13/00
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
BAKER, LORI LYNN
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Harold I. Masteller (Springboro, OH, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A urinal strainer, comprising: a) a perforated base pad; b) a deodorant canister fixed to said perforated base pad; and c) a conduit extending into said deodorant canister, said conduit fixed to said deodorant canister, said conduit having an open end to receive a urine stream and drain end positioned proximate said perforated base pad to discharge urine from said conduit.

2. The invention recited in claim 1, wherein: a) said deodorant canister comprises an outside wall having one end fixed to said perforated base pad and an opposite end fixed to said open end of said conduit; and b) said conduit comprises a tapered wall from said open end to said drain end so that said drain end is smaller than said open end, said drain end positioned above a top surface of said perforated base pad.

3. The invention recited in claim 2, wherein said open end is greater than ¼ inch in diameter.

4. The invention recited in claim 2, wherein said open end ranges between about 1 inch up to about 5 inches in diameter.

5. The invention recited in claim 2, wherein said open end is 2¾ inches in diameter.

6. The invention recited in claim 2, comprising a perforated grate attached to said drain end.

7. The invention recited in claim 4 comprising: a chamber within said deodorant canister, said chamber defined by said outside wall, said conduit, said perforated grate, and said perforated base pad.

8. The invention recited in claim 7, wherein said chamber comprises: a) a deodorant slot located between said outside wall and said conduit, said deodorant slot shaped to contain a deodorant material supported on said perforated base pad, and b) a urine trap located between said perforated grate and said perforated base pad.

9. The invention recited in claim 8, comprising: a plurality of apertures that extend through said outside wall into said deodorant slot.

10. The invention recited in claim 8, comprising: a plurality of apertures that extend through said conduit into said deodorant slot.

11. The invention recited in claim 9 wherein said apertures are located within a lower half portion of said conduit.

12. The invention recited in claim 2, wherein said drain end is fixed to said perforated base pad.

13. The invention recited in claim 12 comprising: a deodorant slot between said outside wall and said conduit, said deodorant slot shaped to contain a deodorant material supported on said perforated base pad.

14. The invention recited in claim 13, comprising: a plurality of apertures that extend through said outside wall into said deodorant slot.

15. The invention recited in claim 13, comprising: a plurality of apertures that extend through said conduit into said deodorant slot.

16. The invention recited in claim 8, comprising: a rim-ring extending between and fixed to said opposite end of said outside wall and said open end of said conduit so that said deodorant slot is enlarged.

17. The invention recited in claim 13, comprising: a rim-ring extending between and fixed to said opposite end of said outside wall and said open end of said conduit so that said deodorant slot is enlarged.

18. The invention recited in claim 1, wherein said conduit extends through said deodorant canister and through said perforated base pad to a location below a bottom surface of said perforated base pad.

19. The invention recited in claim 18, comprising: a deodorant slot located between said outside wall and said conduit, said deodorant slot shaped to contain a deodorant material supported on said perforated base pad.

20. The invention recited in claim 19, comprising: a rim-ring extending between and fixed to said opposite end of said outside wall and said open end of said conduit so that said deodorant slot is enlarged.

21. The invention recited in claim 19, comprising: a plurality of apertures that extend through said outside wall into said deodorant slot.

22. The invention recited in claim 19, comprising: a plurality of apertures that extend through said conduit into said deodorant slot.

23. The invention recited in claim 1, comprising: indicia imprinted on a surface area within said conduit.

24. The invention recited in claim 1, wherein said perforated base pad comprises spaced apart slots extending through said base pad.

25. The invention recited in claim 1, wherein said perforated base pad comprises spaced apart circular holes extending through said base pad.

26. The invention recited in claim 1, wherein said perforated base pad comprises a mesh that provides openings through said base pad.

27. A non-splash urinal strainer, comprising: a) a perforated base pad; and b) a deodorant canister Including; i. a continuous outside wall having a first end fixed to said perforated base pad; ii. a funnel shaped conduit having open end fixed to a second end of said continuous outside wall, said funnel shaped conduit extending from said open end to a drain end positioned within said continuous outside wall proximate said perforated base pad; iii. a perforated grate attached to said drain end of said conduit; and iv. a deodorant material contained within a space provided between said continuous outside wall and said funnel shaped conduit portion within said continuous outside wall.

28. A method of eliminating splash back from a urinal fixture, comprising: a) placing a urinal strainer over a waste drain provided in a bowl portion of the urinal fixture, said urinal strainer including; i. a perforated base pad; and ii. a deodorant canister fixed to said perforated base pad; and iii. a funnel shaped conduit having an open end attached to said deodorant canister, said attached conduit extending into said deodorant canister to a drain end located proximate said perforated base pad. b) directing a urine stream into said open end of said funnel shaped conduit; c) containing urine splash back within said funnel shaped conduit; d) discharging urine from said drain end onto said perforated base pad, and e) draining said discharged urine through said perforated base pad and into the waste drain of the urinal fixture.

29. The method recited in claim 28, wherein said deodorant canister includes deodorant material contained within a space provided between a perforated continuous outside wall and a portion of said funnel shaped conduit that extends into said deodorant canister, the steps of the method further including: a) flushing the urinal fixture with incoming flush water; b) directing the flush water through said perforated continuous outside wall into said space containing deodorant material so that said perforated base, said deodorant canister, said funnel shaped conduit, and the urinal are cleansed with a deodorant containing flush water.

30. The method recited in claim 29 wherein said open end of said funnel shaped conduit is attached to said continuous outside wall and said funnel shaped conduit includes: a) a perforated grate attached to said drain end proximate said perforated base pad; and b) a urine trap located between said drain end and said perforated base pad, said urine trap communicating with said space containing deodorant material; the steps of the method further including, causing said deodorant containing flush water to flow from said deodorant material, into said urine trap whereby rising deodorant containing flush water flows upward into said funnel shaped conduit.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

The present invention is directed to urinal strainers, and in particular, to a non-splash urinal strainer that includes a deodorant canister with a funnel shaped conduit adapted to receive, trap, and direct an incoming urine stream into the waste drain of a urinal without encountering urine splash back from the strainer device.

Various urinal strainers have been developed in the past to prevent debris from entering and clogging the waste drain of a urinal. Many of the past strainer devices include containers that hold blocks of deodorant to freshen and sanitize the urinal bowl. A problem associated with past urinal strainers is urine splash back. When a stream of urine strikes a strainer, it tends to splash back onto both the user and onto the floor of the restroom. Some improvements have been made in an attempt to eliminate the urine splash back problem, but without great success. One such attempt to eliminate splash back is disclosed in U.S. Pat. No. 5,365,616 granted to Morad on Nov. 22, 1994. The Morad device includes a strainer with a deodorant block holder that has a circular top with a small central opening (about ¼ inch in diameter) and a plurality of spaced apart radial slots that extend from the central opening to the outside wall of the deodorant block holder. When urine strikes the small central opening, it is expected that the impacting urine will flow through the opening and into the deodorant block holder, thereby reducing urine splash back.

The strainer disclosed in the Morad patent fails to eliminate splash back for various reasons. First, the small ¼ inch diameter hole makes it difficult for the user to hit the intended target area. In addition, it is very likely that the user will not know that the small central opening is a urine target area. Second, if the urine stream strikes the deodorant block located directly below the ¼ inch hole and the radial slots, the force of the impacting urine on the deodorant block causes urine splash back. Finally, the solid portions or ribs located between the spaced apart radial slots cause splash back when they are struck by the incoming stream of urine.

SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

Accordingly, it is a first object of the present invention to provide a urinal strainer that prevents debris from entering the waste drain, deodorizes and sanitizes the urinal bowl, and eliminates urine splash back.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a urinal strainer with an enlarged target area for receiving an incoming stream of urine.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a urinal strainer having a funnel shaped conduit with an open end that provides a target area for receiving and directing an incoming urine stream toward the drain end of the funnel shaped conduit.

It is another object of the present invention to provide a urinal strainer that includes a urine trap to receive urine discharged from the drain end of the funnel shaped conduit, the urine trap providing a buffer that reduces energy in the flow of urine and eliminates urine splash back.

It is still another object of the present invention to provide a urinal strainer having a perforated grate attached to the drain end of the funnel shaped conduit to diffuse the incoming urine stream and to prevent debris from entering into the urine trap.

In satisfaction of the foregoing objects and advantages, the present invention includes a non-splash urinal strainer with a perforated base pad and a deodorant canister fixed to the base pad. The deodorant canister includes a continuous outside wall fixed to the base pad, a funnel shaped conduit having an open end fixed to the continuous outside wall and a drain end proximate the perforated base pad. A perforated grate is attached to the drain end of the funnel shaped conduit, and deodorant material is contained within a space provided between the continuous outside wall of the deodorant canister and the funnel shaped conduit.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an isometric view of the preferred embodiment of the urinal strainer invention.

FIG. 2 is a cross-section view taken along the lines 2-2 of FIG. 1.

FIG. 3 is a cross-section view similar to FIG. 2 showing an alternate embodiment of the urinal strainer invention.

FIG. 4 is a cross-section view similar to FIG. 2 showing a second alternate embodiment of the urinal strainer invention.

FIG. 5 is a cross-section view similar to FIG. 2 showing a third alternate embodiment of the urinal strainer invention.

FIG. 6 is a cross-section view similar to FIG. 2 showing a fourth alternate embodiment of the urinal strainer invention.

FIG. 7 is a cross-section view showing the preferred urinal strainer of FIG. 2 placed in a urinal bowl.

FIG. 8 is a cross-section view showing the third alternate urinal strainer of FIG. 5 placed in a urinal bowl.

FIG. 9 is an isometric view similar to FIG. 1 showing an alternate base pad embodiment.

FIG. 10 is an isometric view showing a second alternate base pad embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

Referring to FIGS. 1, 2, and 7 of the drawings, the preferred embodiment of the present non-splash urinal strainer 1 comprises a flexible, perforated base pad 2 comprising a plurality of radial slots 3 extending between a deodorant canister 4 and a rim 5 that defines the periphery of the base pad. In the preferred embodiment, base pad 2 has a curvilinear rim 5 that provides a substantially triangular shaped base pad 2. However, the flexible base pad may comprise any shape that is capable of conforming with the contour of a urinal bowl without departing from the scope of the present invention.

The deodorant canister 4 comprises a continuous outside wall 6 fixed to and extending upward from the flexible base pad 2. The outside wall is sloped at an inward angle toward its upper end, and the upper end is contiguous with the open end rim 7 of a funnel shaped conduit 8. It should be understood that wall 6 may comprise a vertical wall or an outward sloped wall without departing from the scope of the present invention.

The open end of the funnel shaped conduit 8 provides an enlarged target area for receiving an incoming urine stream. The funnel shaped conduit 8 extends downward from rim 7 of canister 4 to a smaller drain end 9 positioned proximate the top surface of the flexible pad 2. A perforated grate 10 is attached to and covers drain end 9 of conduit 8 to diffuse the incoming urine stream and prevent debris from entering chamber 11 within deodorant canister 4.

Chamber 11 is defined by the outside wall 6 of canister 4, the funnel shaped conduit 8, grate 10, and the top surface of the strainer base pad 2, and inner chamber 11 includes a urine trap portion 11a and a deodorant slot 11b. Urine trap 11a comprises an open space located between grate 10 and the top surface of base pad 2, and the deodorant slot 11b comprises a space located between the outside wall 6 of canister 4 and the wall portion of the funnel shaped conduit 8 that extends into the deodorant canister. Urine trap 11a functions as a buffer between the drain end 9 of the funnel shaped conduit 8 and the hard surface of a urinal bowl. A ring of solid deodorant material 12, or granular deodorant material 12, is supported on the top surface of base pad 2 and contained within the deodorant slot 11b between the outside wall 6 and the funnel shaped conduit 8. A plurality of apertures 14 extend through the continuous outside wall 6 and communicate with slot 11b. The combination of outside wall apertures 14 and base pad slots 3, expose the deodorant material 12 to the urinal bowl environment. In FIGS. 1 and 2, apertures 14 are rectangular. However, any suitable shaped aperture may be used to expose the deodorant material without departing from the scope of the present invention.

Referring to FIG. 7, the preferred non-splash urinal strainer 1 is placed within the bowl 16 of a urinal fixture 15. In FIG. 7, the strainer is shown used under perfect conditions whereby the drain end 9 is positioned directly over a urinal waste drain 17 and there is little or no contact between the draining urine and the hard surface of bowl 16. However, under real world conditions, urinal strainers are more likely moved out of alignment with the waste drain, placing the drain end 9 over the hard bowl surface. In other instances, the urinal drain 17 may not be positioned symmetrically within bowl 16. When this happens, either a portion drain end 9, or the entire drain end, must be positioned over the hard surface of the bowl. In such instances, where the drain end 9 is not positioned directly over a drain, the urine trap 11a will provide a buffer area that captures discharged urine between the perforated grate 10 and the top surface of the perforated base pad 2. The collected urine slowly drains from trap 11a through the slots 3 provided in base pad 2 and into bowl 16. This arrangement prevents incoming urine from impacting on hard urinal surfaces and eliminates the above-mentioned splash back problem.

Referring in particular to FIGS. 1 and 2, the funnel shaped conduit 8 extends into deodorant canister 4 from rim 7 to the drain end 9. Rim 7, being contiguous with the upper end of outside wall 6, provides a large urine target area without a need for a canister top surface as disclosed in the Morad patent. The absence of a canister top surface reduces the likelihood of generating splash back when a urine stream is directed toward the strainer device of the present invention. The enlarged target area defined by rim 7 is greater than the ¼ inch with a preferred target area size ranging between about 1 inch up to about 5 inches in diameter and with a most preferred target area size of about 2¾ inches in diameter. This is a significant improvement in target size over prior non-splash urinal strainers. The funnel shaped conduit 8 and bottom grate 10 provide a channel and damper respectively for the incoming urine stream. Because the conduit has a funnel shaped slopping wall, the incoming urine stream is directed downward toward grate 10 as opposed to splashing in an outward direction as common with urine strainers of the past, and grate 10 breaks up and disperses the impacting urine stream, allowing the dispersed urine to flow into trap 11a. The dispersed urine passes through grate 10 into urine trap or chamber 11 where the urine loses momentum and drains through the slots 3 provided in base pad 2. The draining urine flows into bowl 16 and/or into waste drain 17 as shown in FIG. 7.

The slotted outer wall 6 of the deodorant canister enables deodorizing to occur when urinal 15 is flushed. This arrangement extends service life of the deodorizing material 12 for the following reason. Previous deodorizing strainers, such as the Morad device, include openings along the top surface of the deodorant block holder and the incoming urine stream impacts on the deodorant causing rapid erosion of the material and also splash back. Such rapid erosion is caused by the destructive chemicals in urine in combination with the force of the impact on the deodorant block. The preferred embodiment of the present invention overcomes the deodorant erosion problem by providing a solid funnel shaped wall 8 that receives and protects the deodorant material 12 from the incoming urine stream while still freshening and sanitizing the urinal with each flush of the urinal fixture. When the fixture is flushed, the flush water flows through apertures 14 provided in the outer wall 6 of the canister 4 and into the deodorant slot 11b where the flush water and remaining urine is treated with deodorant. The incoming flush water dissolves an amount of deodorant material 12 as it flows downward through slot 11b, through the perforations or slots 3 provided in the flexible strainer pad 2, and is discharged from the urinal bowl through the waste drain 17. During the flushing operation, while the flush water is rising within the urinal bowl, the rising treated water in the bottom of the urinal bowl flows upward through grate 10 and into conduit 8, thereby deodorizes/sanitizes the funnel shaped conduit 8 during each flush cycle.

Tests were conducted to determine the effectiveness of the present non-splash urinal strainer, shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the drawings, as compared to the effectiveness of the non-splash device disclosed by Morad in U.S. Pat. No. 5,365,616.

Test 1: An empty container was placed on a blank chart pad that was positioned to catch any splash back that occurred during the test. It was intended that the splash back would mark the chart pad and enable measurement of the splash back pattern. A purchased Morad urine strainer was supported on the rim of the empty container and a stream of water was directed toward the ¼ inch hole in the slotted top surface as disclosed in the patent. During testing, an attempt was made to simulate the impact force of an average urine stream. Based on information taken from Medline Plus, a service of the U.S. National Library, the average urine flow rate for a male between 14 to 45 years old is 21 mL/sec. It was estimated that the average length of a urine stream is about 10 inches. Twelve ounces of water in a 10 inch long stream of water at a flow rate of about 21 mL/sec. was directed toward the ¼ inch target located in the top surface of the Morad strainer. Splash back was observed and caught on the blank chart pad, and the resulting splash back pattern on the chart pad was measured. In this test, the splash back pattern on the chart pad measured a distance of between 24 to 25 inches from the ¼ inch target area provided by the Morad non-splash urine strainer device.

Test 2: The Morad device with the preferred urinal strainer device shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 of the patent drawings. Twelve ounces of water in a 10 inch long stream at a flow rate of about 21 mL/sec. were directed toward the open end of conduit 8. The resulting splash back pattern on the chart pad was measured. In Test 2, the splash back pattern on the chart pad measured a distance of 3 to 4 inches from rim 7 along the open end of the conduit. A splash back of only 3 to 4 inches will be contained within the bowl of a urinal, and accordingly, the improved urinal strainer of the present invention eliminates urine splash back onto the user or onto the floor area adjacent the urinal fixture. This is a significant 6 to 8 times improvement in splash back reduction as compared to the Morad strainer.

Referring to the alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 3, the continuous outside wall 6 of canister 4a is fixed to, and extends upward from, the flexible base pad 2. Conduit 8a extends downward from rim 7 to its smaller drain end 9a closed with a perforated grate 10a. In this alternate embodiment, a plurality of apertures 18 extend through conduit 8a and communicate with slot 11b that contains the deodorant material 12. Apertures 18 facilitate the flow of deodorant containing flush water into conduit 8a and improve deodorizing/sanitizing within the funnel shaped conduit. The apertures also improve urine and/or flush water drainage from conduit 8a when foreign objects such as gum, cigarettes, paper, etc. are dropped into the conduit. It should be understood that although apertures 18 are only shown in FIG. 3, apertures 18 may be incorporated into the alternate embodiments shown in FIGS. 4-6.

Referring to the alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 4, the continuous outside wall 6 of deodorant canister 4b is fixed to, and extends upward from, the flexible base pad 2. In this embodiment, conduit 8b includes a rim-ring 7b attached to the upper end of outside wall 6. Rim-ring 7b increases the distance between the outer wall 6 and conduit 8b so that the deodorant slot 11b is enlarged. The increased slot size provides a greater deodorant holding capacity, and thereby, provides longer service life. It should be understood that rim-ring 7b may be incorporated into the preferred embodiment shown in FIGS. 1 and 2 as well as into the alternate embodiments shown in FIGS. 3, 5, and 6 to increase the deodorant holding capacity of the respective deodorant slots.

Referring again to FIG. 4, conduit 8b extends downward into the deodorant canister to a smaller drain end 9b, and the drain end is fixed to the top surface of base pad 2. In this instance, a plurality of slots or apertures 3b extend through the strainer base pad 2 directly below drain end 9b to provide an integral perforated grate 10b in base pad 2. Grate 10b is similar to grate 10 shown in FIG. 2. In this embodiment, the incoming urine stream drains directly from the conduit 8b through grate 10b and into the waste drain of the urinal. Such a direct drain embodiment is effective in reducing or eliminating splash back when conduit is properly aligned with the drain in a urinal bowl as illustrated in FIG. 7. If drain end 9b becomes misaligned with the urinal waste drain, increased splash back may occur.

In FIGS. 5 and 8, an alternate direct drain strainer pad is shown comprising a deodorant canister 4c having a continuous outside wall 6 fixed to and extending upward from the flexible base pad 2. Conduit 8c extends downward from rim 7, through the deodorant canister 4c and through base pad 2 to its smaller drain end 9c positioned below the bottom surface of the slotted base pad 2. This enables inserting the smaller drain end 9c directly into the waste drain 19 in bowl 20 of urinal 21 as shown in FIG. 8. The drain end 9c of conduit 8c is closed with a perforated grate 10c to prevent foreign objects from entering the waste drain 19 and to break up and disperse the impacting urine stream. This direct drain embodiment is especially suitable for use in a urinal where the waste drain is symmetrically located within the bowl because the inserted drain end 9c holds the non-splash urinal strainer in place within bowl 20.

Referring to the alternate embodiment shown in FIG. 6, the deodorant canister 4d includes a continuous outside wall 6 fixed to and extending upward from the flexible base pad 2, a conduit 8d extends downward from rim 7 to a smaller drain end 9d positioned proximate the top surface of base pad 2. In this embodiment, the smaller drain end 9d is left open or uncovered above the radial slots 3d in base pad 2 and the impacting urine stream drains directly from the conduit 8d into the urine trap portion 11 provided within canister 4d. This embodiment is effective in reducing splash back. However, it may be problematic if foreign objects enter and clog the urine trap portion of chamber 11.

Referring to FIG. 9, an alternate urinal strainer base pad embodiment 2a is shown comprising a screen or mesh 22 attached to and spanning rim 5a that defines the periphery of the base pad.

Referring to FIG. 10 showing a different alternate base pad, the flexible base pad 2b includes a plurality of apertures 23 extending through the base pad and spanning the base pad area defined by rim 5b. The mesh screen 22 and the apertures 23 extend into the base pad portions below the deodorant canister 4 as shown by the base pad slots in the various cross-section views FIGS. 2-6.

Referring again to FIG. 10, the funnel shaped conduit 8 has a large open end defined by rim 7 and a solid wall portion that extends into the deodorant canister within the bounds of the canister outer wall. The solid wall portion of conduit 8 enables imprinting one or more advertisements, logos, novelty images, or other information 24 on the solid conduit wall portion located below the target area defined by rim 7.

Referring to the drawing FIGS. 1-10, although the deodorant canister in preferred embodiment and the alternate embodiments comprises a circular configuration, it should be understood that the outside wall 6 and the conduits 8 through 8d may comprise any suitable geometric shape without departing from the scope of the present invention.

As such, the present invention is disclosed in terms of a preferred embodiment and alternate embodiments that fulfill each one of the objects set forth above, and the invention provides a new and improved non-splash urinal strainer. Of course, those skilled in the art may contemplate various changes, modifications, and alterations from the teachings of the present disclosure without departing from the intended spirit and scope of the present invention.